GatlinburgGatlinburg is a resort town located in eastern Tennessee. It is a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Downtown Gatlinburg may come as somewhat of a shock for those on their way to a nature getaway in the national park — from the Space Needle to the amusement rides, the town hasn't necessarily chosen to embrace its "nature" side. That said, there is plenty of lodging, restaurants, and other amenities to make this town a useful base for exploring the park.
The town's development is closely tied to that of the national park, which was opened in 1934. While in 1912 the town had only six houses, by 1935 over 500,000 visitors were passing through the town each year, and today over 9 million people each year visit the park. The town grew quickly to accommodate the influx, but has had to deal with issues of urban sprawl and air quality as a result of the huge numbers of outsiders that pass through. Gatlinburg is a typical tourist town, with many attractions and quirky shops lining the Parkway.
By carGatlinburg is best reached by the north by taking I-40 to Tennessee Route 66 south. Follow Tennessee Route 66 to US 441 in Sevierville and follow US 441 through Pigeon Forge and into Gatlinburg.
From the west, Gatlinburg can be reached by either US 441 (from Knoxville) or US 411 and US 321 (from Maryville, TN).
From the south, US 441 passes through the heart of the Smokies, bringing in traffic from Cherokee, NC. It is about 35 miles from Cherokee to Gatlinburg, but the high volume of tourist traffic on the road can make the trip at least an hour long.
From the east, US 321 brings in traffic directly from I-40 coming in from North Carolina.
Gatlinburg is a very popular resort town, which can be a nightmare for drivers during the peak summer months, especially on weekends. If you are headed to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park it is best to use the Gatlinburg Bypass to avoid the traffic delays. Once you are in town, there are several short cuts to get you through town and off the main drag!
Most visitors to Gatlinburg are here due to the close proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the surrounding outdoor adventures, but for those who want to escape from nature there are a vast number of attractions in town, ranging from interesting to educational to tacky & bizarre.
Cooter's PlaceDukes of Hazzard store and museum.
Gatlinburg Sky LiftRide up Crockett Mountain for panoramic views
Gatlinburg Space NeedleObservation tower and arcade.
Guinness World Records Museum1,200 exhibits.
Hollywood Star Cars MuseumBig star cars collection.
Ripley's Aquarium of the SmokiesLocated at traffic light number 5, 1-865-430-8808. Open 365 days a year: 9AM-11PM Memorial Day through Labor Day, Su-Th 9AM-11PM and F,Sa 9AM-11PM the rest of the year. Ripley's Aquarium has the world's longest underwater aquarium tunnel; over 10,000 sea creatures including sharks, jellyfish cuttlefish, sea horses; hourly dive shows; other exhibits including Touch-A-Ray Bay; and educational programs. Adults $22.29, ages 6-11 $12.25, ages 2-5 $5.56, under 2 free. Annual passes available with various benefits.
Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum500 exhibits of incredible artifacts.
Smoky Mountain WineryComplimentary tour and wine tasting.
Sweet Fanny Adams TheatreLively music and top notch performers. Gatlinburg's only alternative to country shows.
phone: +1 865 430-5515address: 561 Brookside Village Way
Visitors to town will likely spend their days in Great Smoky Mountains National Park enjoying activities such as hiking along the Appalachian Trail, but for those looking for adventure rides, arcades, water parks, or other diversions there is plenty to choose from in town.
Ober GatlinburgIncludes an aerial tramway, alpine slide, bear habitat and ski resort.
Wild Bear Falls Indoor WaterparkThe largest indoor water park resort in the South and the 5th largest in the country.
Festivals & Events
- March-June Smoky Mountain Springfest
- April 12 White Blaze Day benefiting The Appalachian Trail Conservancy ~ held in the parking lot of The Happy Hiker from 10am - 6pm. Free live Blue Grass, lots of food, - all proceeds benefits The Appalchian Trail Conservancey (the folks that maintain the AT).
- Mid April Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Easter Show
- Mid April Ribfest & Wings
- Late April Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
- Mid May Gatlinburg Scottish Festival & Games
- Mid May Gatlinburg Fine Arts Festival
- Early July 4th of July Midnight Parade
- Early July River Raft Regatta
- September 1-December 31 Old Fashined Hayrides
- Mid September-Late October Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival
- Late September Taste of Autumn
- Early October Gatlinburg Heritage Days
- Early-Mid October Gatlinburg Craftmen's Fair
- November-February Smoky Mountain Winterfest
- Early November Winterfest Kickoff & Chili Cookoff
- Early November-Late December Gatlinburg Trolley Ride of Lights
- November 11 Veterans Day Celebration
- Late November Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Holiday Show
- November-December Old Fashioned Hayrides
- December 1 Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade
- Early December Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Christmas Show
- December 31 New Years Eve Ball Drop and Pyrotechnic Show
phone: +1 865-436-6000address: 905 River RoadThis store provides hiking supplies and food for park visitors.
address: 705 E. Parkway
address: 714 River Rd
address: 812 Parkway Suite 105
address: 710 Parkway
address: 1004 Parkway
address: 1002 Parkway
address: 1420 E. Parkway
address: Newman Rd off US 321 N
address: 515 Parkway
address: 976 Parkway
phone: +1 865-436-4200address: 1004 ParkwayA cross between a ski lodge and a Bavarian beer hall, this pub offers sandwiches, snacks and beers, with televisions and an enclosed deck.
address: 1019 Park WayA chain restaurant that features steaks.
address: 820 River RoadA great steakhouse which allows patrons to view and choose from several cuts of steak before being cooked. Steaks are cooked over hickory for a nice woody flavor. Much better than chain steakhouse steaks.
Bed & Breakfasts
address: 1520 Garrett LaneFour guest rooms with private baths and views of Mt. Leconte and the Great Smoky Mountains. The balconies overlook Gatlinburg.
Hotels & Motels
address: 135 Reagan DrDowntown Gatlinburg Hotel offering 57 rooms and suites including jacuzzi suites, balcony rooms and fireplaces. All rooms have microwave, fridge, iron, ironing board, hair-dryer, coffee maker, free wifi and continental breakfast.
address: 240 River RdOffers private balcony views from king or double queen rooms with mini fridge, microwave and coffee maker. Amenities include two pools, a restaurant, lounge, and 25,000 square feet of meeting space that includes a ballroom, breakout rooms and a conference center. Bus parking available.
address: 915 Westgate Resort RdFamily friendly resort hotel offering studio and one bedroom suites. Property includes swimming pools, a spa, a lounge, restaurant, arcade, walking trails, kids club and more. Also the home to the largest indoor water park in the south, Wild Bear Falls.
phone: +1 865-233-2390address: 1088 Powdermill RdResort offering 1-5 bedroom cabins with hot tubs, Jacuzzi's, Saunas, pool table and other amenities. Free wireless internet.
phone: +1 865-277-1160address: 653 Hidden Valley Rd330 luxury cabins featuring amenities such as kitchens, game rooms, home theaters and hot tubs.
phone: +1 865 436-5031address: 849 Glades Rd. Unit 1A1This local company offers cabins and chalets. Rentals range in size from honeymoon cabins to large group lodges that sleep over 20 guests.
phone: +1-865-684-4680address: 4375 E. Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738Cabins and chalets ranging from small honeymoon cabins to large group lodges that as many as 15 guests or more
- Leconte Vista RV Park & Campground 1739 Parkway.
address: 1202 E. Parkway